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This Tee-Shirt Was Brought to You By Pepsi (And This Mustache by Just For Men)

This article was written by in Consumer. 16 comments.


Why is it that everyone wants me to advertise for them for free, particularly when it is related to sports? At almost every baseball game attend, I can receive “free” gifts. Last year, in return for buying a ticket to one particular game, I received a bucket hat with my team’s logo. Just several hours ago, my “free” gift was a “bobble-head” figure of one of the top players on the team. Throughout the game, ambassadors and mascots use air cannons to launch “free” tee-shirts to fans in the stadium.

On the bucket hat, just as large as the team logo is the logo for Gulf. The bobble-head figure — which was broken when I took it out of the box, by the way — has a plaque reading AIG, bigger than the player’s name. The free tee-shirts are sponsored by Pepsi (the only drink brand allowed in the stadium, by the way), and would undoubtedly be emblazoned with that company’s logo.

Many years ago, I decided I would not wear any item that had a company’s name or logo plainly visible to other people. This probably came as a result of seeing one to many GAP sweatshirts. I certainly wasn’t going to pay to provide some company with free advertising by buying clothing emblazoned with a logo or brand, no matter how “cool” I would be if I did thanks to the positive image of the brand being associated with the wearer. (I would, however, consider wearing clothing with brands if it would be considered ironic or obscure, which just shows that I’m not immune to marketing anyway.)

This holds true for sports brands as well. While I’m a fan of the Mets, I generally don’t advertise for that particular company’s brand by wearing logo-emblazoned clothing unless I’m going to a baseball game where it’s expected. I don’t see much difference between sports brands and product brands. It’s still free advertising.

Corporate sponsorships allow things to get done, though. Without the money from Citi, the Mets wouldn’t have a new stadium next year. (Who decided the team needs a new stadium, anyway, especially one with fewer seats and — wait for it — more options for corporate ticket owners and fewer for everyday fans?) It makes sense from a company’s perspective to allow sponsorship (which explains why I accept advertising on websites, for instance), but I try to avoid being an unpaid part of that sponsorship as much as possible.

I’ll likely remove the AIG plaque from the bobble-head figure and, if I decide to ever wear that bucket hat to a game, I will cover up the unfavorable logo with something.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published August 11, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar KC

I frequent minor league stadiums and the t-shirt sponsors are usually local comapnies. I’ll wear those (including FedEx cause it is THE local company in my city). But the Coke shirts and things like that I just work out in or give to a kid.

But I hate to buy anything with a logo on it. Nike is the worst. I don’t want that swoosh on my clothing. I think their shoes are horrible and are resposible for giving me knee pain and blisters on the tennis court and I just don’t want to be associated with them. The heck with sweatshops, U of Oregon and the other things they are associated with, I associate them with bad shoes and I don’t want their logo on my clothing.

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avatar matty dread

I have refused to wear any clothes (shoes the exception) with an obvious logo or emblem for many years now for the same reasons as you point out.

Remember the Neil Young video “this notes for you” that MTV would not play because Young said “ain’t playing for pepsi, ain’t playing for coke, ain’t playing for nobody that makes me look like a joke” (Pepsi was a major MTV advertiser at the time)??

I pretty much also refuse to buy any music from any corporate sponsored (created) musicians, which is pretty much all you get fed on cable TV and free radio these days.

Poster above me is correct about Nike. Their products have not been designed for actual athletes in many years. Real runners/basketball/athletes who aren’t getting paid to wear their gear stay away from Nike equipment…but if you have some shorts down to your ankles, a pro football/basketball jersey, and are 40-100 pounds overweight, Nike shoes are for you….

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avatar Mrs. Micah

I will wear shirts from causes I like—blood drive, special olympics, that sort of thing. I tell myself it’s because I think the cause is fine to advertise for free and it’s always good to remind people, especially the blood one. They might remember it’s time to donate again. But there’s probably a certain amount of “Look at me, I helped out with the special olympics, I give blood!” in it too.

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avatar Minderbender

The baseball gifts are just that-gifts. Feel free to refuse them if you like. The companies sponsor the giveaway, so they get to put their logo on there. If you really want a bobblehead badly enough, you can pay for it and skip the ads.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,365 (Platinum)

Matty: Your comment about corporate sponsored (created) musicians is true. Interesting “Freudian” slip today: I was talking to my co-worker about a concert she attended the other day and she slipped and called them a “brand” rather than a “band.” Interesting…

Mrs. Micah: I don’t wear tee-shirts much anyway, but I will wear ones that support non-profits that I find important.

I should note that I have a tee-shirt from the television show House. Its sale supports a charity but I mainly got it because I like the show and the mantra “everybody lies.” The shirt has the House logo on the back, but I don’t feel like I’m supporting a corporation (FOX), I feel like I am supporting the charity and the creative team that develops the show.

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avatar Evan

Flexo,

3 comments:
1) What about jerseys? Huge football guy here and I when given the chance I will wear my falcons jersey!
2) I always wear the free beer shirt given for promotions to run or work out in.
3) I wasn’t even going to comment till I saw your Mets reference. Long Islander here and last year the mother in law saw this obviously branded item that I LOVE… it is an orange hulk hand that actually serves as a beer coolie! It is AMAZING

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avatar Philip

I have not worn branded clothes in a long time, I hate the idea of having a brand painted across my chest. As far as t-shirts go I wear mostly shirts that I have either a) gotten at a music concert and has no corporate logos on them, pretty much all small local type bands, or b) that are “give aways” for signing up for bike races. Those usually have the front with something about the race and then the back has a long list of logos for companies that have helped sponsor the race.

I guess I don’t mind those too much due in part to when I was racing for a club and we needed some sponsorship to make it to races etc we went to companies to get them to give money to have their name on our jerseys.

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avatar Patrick

I haven’t bought clothing with brand logos or crests for several years now. I don’t much care for them and never have. I also don’t wear shirts that advertise things except for a green Guinness t-shirt that I picked up on sale several years ago that I wear for St. Paddy’s Day.

But in my opinion, repetitive name dropping in Rap and Hip-Hop music is worse than advertising on clothing. Want to know who the artist is? Just listen for 15 seconds and they will tell you… 5 times. Same thing for featured artists in those songs. It’s not uncommon to listen to a song and hear 4 or 5 artists mentioned… while also name dropping various brands of liquor, automobiles, clothing brands, vacation hot spots, clubs, etc. Nothing against hip-hop, but half of it is a big advertisement.

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